My recent riff on our potentially just begun 6th Wave of innovation made me think of another wave we seem to be in.
The never-ending explosion of coffee shops with what they call 'third-wave coffee'.
The first wave cited as the amassing industrialisation of retail coffee shops. The second, the emergence of the mega-chains the like of which we couldn't miss come the late 90s.
Now the third. In the coffee shop sense, the term's been around a few years now. Mainly relating to focus on provenance, boutique and independence.
Wherever your stance on this sits, there's an interesting progression to this. One which I feel video calling may well be mirroring.
We have those first-in. Making the difficult trailblazing initial footholds. Taking things so far. Then a tipping point, and followers pile in. Instantly building on what they perceive as gaps in the original's product, positioning and plans. Seeking rapid landgrab. Then, thirdly in, arrive those that then take the best of both who came before, to move things farther forward in targeted, super-niche ways for the already educated and highly engaged.
This has clear parallels with vendors in the video meeting space which I'm sure you can make out for yourself.
If you were solution selling around the mid- to late-2010s, I suspect you'd pretty much had experience, even if only the once or twice, with being on a video call. Even if using 'consumer' apps, like say Skype, or legacy corporate bolt-on options like WebEx.
Then, the obvious explosion of 2020. Zoom zoomed away. Microsoft dragged everyone back with their pitiful, yet distribution choking Teams.
And now. Lately there's been a raft of options targeted at specific use-cases. I've started to encounter sales outfits mixing across multiple alternatives for the 'right' one depending on what they seek to achieve at that time.
With one more recent development to swerve. Some Third Wave coffee shops have gone beyond the stereotypical bearded, check-shirted, ex-'proper job' now trendy boho café owner of a decade ago. Now, they've homogenised themselves with the modern-day equivalent of magnolia wall paint. You'll recognise the style. Witheringly referred to right now as AirSpace. Where the facsimile of authenticity means the same wooden floors, marble countertops, faux industrial lightbulbs, bare brick walls, chalkboard menus, and 'more rustic interiors and sans-serif logos and splashes of cliché accent colours on rugs and walls'. Everywhere.
So there's a need to ensure we're not them. Not Wave 3½. No hipster offshoot sheeple. Nor copycat conformist clone. But the real, distinct, individual Third Waver. Dare to be different.
Yet let's not also forget the evolution of those making video calls.
How you can perform differently over live video. When to choose video over other comms options. How to set up, run and finish video calls. Where you can use video to unleash real productivity gains. How to be truly distinctive from your competition.
If you're thinking along and actively pursuing any of these lines, then you're likely on the cusp of or even on third wave of videoing.
If you sense these are what you want to be thinking of, moving towards and doing, you're about to ride the third wave.
And good for you, as there's a ton of benefits that will now flow your way.